4 DAY COTOPAXI-QUILOTOA-CHIMBORAZO BAÑOS PUYO
DAY 1: QUITO – COTOPAXI NATIONAL PARK
At 07:00 AM we leave Quito and after driving south for 1,5 hours on the Pan-American highway we reach the park entrance of Cotopaxi National Park. We drive through pine forest and soon we arrive to the Visitors Center of the park. After visiting the Center, we continue the ascent in our 4-wheel drive vehicle until we reach the highest point of the tour, 4.500 meters/15.000 feet. The view from this point is stunning and on a clear day we are able to see 8 volcanoes.
We then put on helmets, gloves and protection pads and the bike adventure on the world’s highest active volcano can begin. The first 8 km will take us down 700 m. on dirt roads through volcanic ash and páramo landscape. At 3.800 m. you actually have to do some pedaling while we head down another 8 km between volcanic rocks and wild horses to our lunch spot by an Inca ruin at 3.700 m. With some luck we might see a condor or a caracara. We put the bikes back on the jeep and head for the lake of Limpiopungo at 3.800 m. where we start the 16 km downhill biking on dirt roads and tthe bike adventure is over for this time.
We then ascend by jeep in a northwest direction into the western Cordillera arriving at Quilotoa to spend the night. The night’s retreat is a simple but clean inn located in Quilotoa run by an indigenous family.
DAY 2: QUILOTOA – URBINA
The next day, we start with an early hike down to the deep jade colored Quilotoa Crater Lake. The hike downhill to the Laguna takes about 30 minutes and about twice as long to climb back up. But, you can hire a mule or donkey for about US$10 to carry you back to the top, where your breakfast will be awaiting you to charge your batteries for this day’s adventure! After breakfast we descend on mountain b
ikes to Zumbahua. Many years ago, an earthquake destroyed this area. The land has transformed into a rugged formation resembling what you might imagine as terrain from another planet. Lunch is a picnic at a location where we have the opportunity to intermingle with the Quechua Indians or test your artistic skills with the locals painting landscapes of the area. After lunch, we enjoy a 30-minute drive until we reach 4,200 m (13.400 ft.) We switch then to human power and the downhill bike ride begins down a long and winding road all the way back to Latacunga located at 2400 m. (7,600 ft.). We then continue by jeep to Urbina.
DAY 3: URBINA-CHIMBORAZO
Drive for just over an hour to Mount Chimborazo (6310m), the highest and most impressive of Ecuador’s volcanoes. We park at the lower refuge (4800 m) and continue on foot to the Edgar Whymper Refuge. Located at 5000 meters this is the highest refuge in the world! From here, it’s all downhill- first on foot and then by bike we descend all the way to Ambato(2800m).
This is an amazing bike ride through the highlands, with vicuñas being the sole inhabitants of these wild stretches. On this tour, cyclists enjoy a breathtaking 70 km ride through varying landscapes in just one day. This trip is by far a favorite ride of previous customers. Seldom does one have the chance to ride from the snow line of a volcano, through rural Andean patchwork fields, picnic with vicuñas and at the end of the ride arrive in a modern city. In Ambato, we load up the bikes on the jeep roof and drive to Baños, a small town famous for its hot springs, and spend the night there.
DAY 4: BAÑOS-PUYO and the Avenue of the Orchids-QUITO
We take a pre-breakfast dip in the thermal baths of Baños before pedaling east toward Puyo. You’ll notice the dramatic temperature and vegetation changes as we descend into the steamy Amazon basin. Bike along the famous Avenue of the Orchids to the Amazonian frontier town of Río Verde. Here we have lunch.
Return by jeep to Quito .
PRICE INCLUDES: Meals as indicated (3 breakfasts, 4 lunches), 3 nights accommodation, 21-speed mountain bikes, transportation, bilingual mountain bike guide, driver, all protections (helmet, gloves)
NOT INCLUDED: Meals not mentioned above (Breakfast first day, dinners), entrance fees (e.g. to National Parks Cotopaxi and Chimborazo currently free of charge, Quilotoa $2 pp, thermal springs $4), other beverages, tips, personal expenses.